I’m taking some time off. So instead of doing new interviews, I’m looking back on a few of my old ones and pulling a big idea from each. — Andrew

What would you do if you created an email-based business in a world where people are tired of getting email?

Most of us would look for ways to urge people to join.

In my interview with Jason Ross, founder of JackThreads, I learned about a different approach.

Instead of the usual tactics, which pretty much say, “please, please joining my mailing,” Jason’s approach was to say, “No. You can’t join.”

To get on the list, you need to “request an invitation” and wait to hear back about whether you’re accepted.

From what I can see, acceptance is pretty automatic. If you apply you’re in. Jason was upfront in the interview and said it’s marketing tactic. But it’s a tactic that superpowered his marketing and helped the company take off.

Since he didn’t have an ad budget, Jason reached out to bloggers, newsletters and web sites that covered the brands that JackThreads sells. He explained to them how JackThreads offers premium brands at discounted prices. Then he told them that if they wrote about JackThreads, he’d allow their readers to skip the line and get instant access to the exclusive site.

That’s how JackThreads grew from 0 to 35,000 members in its first year while spending $0 on marketing.